Women rarely wage war, but they too often suffer the worst of its consequences.
Gender-based violence, including rape, is a repugnant and increasingly familiar weapon of war. The immediate toll it takes extends far beyond its direct victims, insidiously tearing apart families and shattering societies for generations to come.Conflict today is less about soldiers engaging in battle with soldiers on the other side of a national border and more about combatants struggling for control within a single country and employing any means to break the will of civilians - women, girls, men and boys - by disempowering them physically, psychologically, economically, and socially.
In many of today's conflicts, women are disempowered by rape or the threat of it, and by the HIV infection, trauma and disabilities that often result from it. Girls are disempowered when they cannot go to school because of the threat of violence, when they are abducted or trafficked, or when their families disintegrate or must flee. In some conflicts, men are also disempowered by sexual violence. Boys, too, are sometimes exploited or forced to become soldiers.
The State of World Population 2010 explores how conflict and protracted humanitarian emergencies affect women and girls - and men and boys - and shows how many women and young people have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and have begun rebuilding their lives and laying the foundation for peace and renewal of their societies.